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PM failed to address major concern of farmers: Capt
Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh expressed disappointment over what he claimed was the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “failure to address” any major concern of the farmers at his Malout rally on Wednesday.
AT the same time, he also lashed out at the Akalis for “betraying” the state by allowing Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar to be present on the occasion.
“The distressed farmers who had gathered to hear Modi found no succour for their problems in his long speech, which was high on fluff and short of substance,” said Capt Amarinder while expressing shock that Modi “failed to even make a mention” of farmer suicide, debts or the Swaminathan Report.
And to rub salt on the farmers’ wounds, the Badals, instead of using the opportunity to fight for Punjab’s rights on the water and Satluj Yamuna Link (SYL) issues, shared the dais with Haryana Chief Minister Khattar, who was actively working against the interests of our state, Capt Amarinder claimed.
Capt Amarinder said that the rally turned out to be a “sorry spectacle” for the farmers, who braved the sweltering heat in the hope of concrete announcements. “Instead, Modi’s speech turned out to be an insipid affair, focused on tom-tomming his government’s four-year rule, which has been a complete failure on all counts,” he said.
Chief Minister said that it was unfortunate that Modi had let go of such a major opportunity to address the serious concerns of the farming community.
“If he really wanted to thank farmers for contributing to the nation’s green revolution and for continuing to feed millions of Indians day after day, Modi should have come out with some concrete announcements on the critical issues of farm loan waiver and ‘in toto’ implementation of the MS Swaminathan report,” said Capt Amarinder.
In his zeal to criticize the Congress, Modi had conveniently forgotten that it was this party that was responsible for ushering in the green revolution and ensuring the country’s food security, the Chief Minister said.
“He (Modi) should have had the decency to at least acknowledge that it was Congress which waived the loans of the farmers while his government has completely failed to provide them with relief from their massive debts,” said Capt Amarinder.
He claimed that the farmers were struggling to make both ends meet yet the Prime Minister did not find it necessary to even make a reference to their problems.
The Chief Minister also came down heavily on the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) for “betraying Punjab” by letting Khattar participate in the rally.
Considering Khattar’s stand on SYL and Punjab water, the Akalis should have not let him be a part of the event in the first place or should have used the opportunity to corner him over these important issues, which are vital for Punjab and its farmers, said Capt Amarinder.
He attacked the SAD president Sukhbir Badal for not pursuing Punjab’s demand for Chandigarh with Modi.
Former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has passed several resolutions on the issue in the past but by failing to take up the matter with the Prime Minister, the Akalis have proved those resolutions were political gimmickry aimed at garnering votes, said Capt Amarinder.
Meanwhile, the state Jails and Cooperation Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa lashed out at SAD leadership for backstabbing Punjab instead of raising their voice in favour of demanding just rights of the state.
Castigating SAD leadership, especially its president Sukhbir Badal and former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal for acting contrary to the state’s interests, Randhawa said that SAD invited Haryana Chief Minister for Malout rally and conveniently choose to forget that it was the same Haryana Chief Minister who had demanded Chandigarh but his claim was rejected in clear cut manner by the Chief Minister only a day before.
Randhawa questioned that how could SAD leaders forget that Haryana Chief Minister has also been demanding completion of SYL canal which would rob Punjab of its precious water thus turning Punjab into a barren land.
He reminded Sukhbir Badal that being BJP’s alliance partner, he must use his leverage on Modi to resolve the issue of Chandigarh which could be done by transferring it to Punjab.
MODI’S VISIT DISAPPOINTED PUNJAB’S ‘EMPTY HANDED’ FOOD GROWERS: JAKHAR
Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar on Wednesday said that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has left the state and its food growers ‘disappointed and empty handed’ after his much publicized visit in the state. “Prime Minister has not bothered about farmers’ interests during his entire tenure. However, now in order to take political mileage on the issues concerning farmers, the Prime Minister has visited the state but it was also futile because farmers gained nothing from it,” said Jakhar.
He said that the Prime Minister has made a failed attempt to woo the farmers of three states in a rally at Malout. “Less crowd and empty chairs in the rally speaks volume of the fact that Akali-BJP alliance has lost its credibility amongst the masses,” he said adding that Modi’s rally was nothing more than a political gimmick as the Prime Minister announced nothing for the state.
SAD THANKS MODI FOR MSP HIKE
SAD president Sukhbir Badal on Wednesday thanked the Prime Minister Narendra Modi for making “unprecedented” hike in the MSP of kharif crops, saying that it will lead to a gain of Rs 4,500 crore for Punjab.
Sukhbir, addressing the farmers at a thanksgiving rally organized jointly by the SAD and BJP to mark the MSP hike, also lashed out at Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh for not “bothering” to thank the Prime Minister for the “historic” jump in the MSP for paddy and other kharif crops.
Thanking Modi for coming to the aid of farmers who had been “cheated and betrayed” by the Congress party for 55 years, Sukhbir said: “The Congress ruled for 55 years in the country but someone who understood the plight of farmers is PM Modi…farmers never got remunerative prices during the Congress regime.”
“Crop rates were sometimes raised by Rs 20, 30 or 40 per quintal during the Congress regime,” he said.
“None did anything for the farmers and it is only Modi ji who promised 50 percent profit on input costs and delivered on it as per the Swaminathan Commission report,” he said.
Sukhbir said that it was also for the first time that a formula had been set to calculate MSP of crops which would result in commensurate hikes in forthcoming years also. In case of paddy, an increase of Rs 200 per quintal would lead to Rs 6,000 per acre profit to farmers.
Similarly, cotton farmers would earn an additional Rs 10,000 per acre due to Rs 1,100 per quintal increase in the MSP, he said, adding that even 'arhatiyas' or agricultural produce commission agents would earn an additional Rs 100 crore and the Punjab government Rs 275 crore on account of market and rural development fee.
Sukhbir said: "Punjab will gain to the tune of Rs 4,500 crore with the MSP hike…I am surprised that Chief Minister Capt Amarinder did not bother to thank the PM even for once for this largesse.”
Seeking justice for 1984 anti-Sikh riots alleging Congress of “orchestrating” them, Sukhbir said: “We want justice for the anti-Sikh riots orchestrated by the Congress. We want arrest of those who were behind this.”
Former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal termed the MSP felicitation function as “marking of a golden day for Punjab” saying that the Congress rule had “demoralized farmers and driven them to suicide”.
He said, in a complete contrast, PM Modi raised India's prestige in the world with his dynamic leadership. “We can now say with pride that India has become an economic and military super power. What did not happen in 70 years has become a reality in four years,” he added.
FARMERS PROTEST, SHOW BLACK FLAGS
Farmers, owing allegiance to various organizations, held a protest and showed black flags as the Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived at Malout on Wednesday to address a rally.
Punjab Police and security agencies stopped the protesting farmers at a distance from the venue and some were detained. The farmers continued their protest carrying black flags, or wearing black bandanas on their turbans.
A group of five to six persons also waved black flags when the former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal was addressing the gathering. “A group of five to six persons led by NSUI leader Akshay Sharma showed black flags to Badal. They were nabbed by Akali workers who then handed them over to the police,” a SAD leader said.
Tight security arrangements were made as Modi arrived in Malout to address a ‘thanksgiving rally’ organized by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) to mark the “biggest hike in MSP of paddy” which was announced by the Modi government the previous week.
Farmers from Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan participated in the rally as Malout town in south-west Punjab’s Muktsar district lies close to the border of all three states.
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